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Opinions Mixed On Proposed Fayetteville Tower

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Plans to build a 400-foot tower in downtown Fayetteville received a lukewarm response during a public hearing Monday.

Some downtown leaders say the tower would stand as an icon for the city while others say it is too big and the money could be spent elsewhere.

Several hundred people showed up to listen to alternative plans.

City leaders want a new symbol for Fayetteville -- a landmark other than the Market House, because of its ties to slavery. They agreed on a 400-foot tower with kaleidoscope lights, marquee and a screen for outdoor movies.

"I think it's a great idea. Why not? Washington has its monuments. We should have something like that," resident Robert Lampkins said.

"Initially, people just loved it and just recently, people have been e-mailing saying they don't like it," said Jason Brady, city spokesman.

Some people are upset about the potential cost. Even though Progress Energy is footing the bill for legal reasons, some believe the $1 million could be better spent.

"Before we spend the money on the tower, I would really like to see more development on down to the Person Street area," resident Jason Bullard said.

Some residents are also worried about the tower's size of 34 stories, which is three-times taller than Fayetteville's Systel building.

The new tower would be part of Festival Park, which is due to open in 2005. The 14-acre project is slated to have a stage, walking paths and office space.

The Fayetteville city Council will hold another public hearing on April 26.


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